Child Development Reviewer Guidelines

The editors of Child Development strive for rapid and thoughtful publication of articles devoted to topics in child development ranging from the fetal period through adolescence. Our editors expect detailed comments from reviewers assessing both the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. Although an editor may ask you to focus on particular areas for a given manuscript, generally you should consider the following:

  • Does the study make a substantive contribution to the literature?
  • How well does the introduction frame the study empirically and theoretically, and does it justify all of its aspects?
  • Do the authors present a sound conceptual framework, clear hypotheses and appropriately describe the methodology?
  • How adequate are the methods for testing the hypothesis/hypotheses and answering the research questions?
  • Do you have concerns about the empirical analysis that can be addressed with the available data? That cannot be addressed with the available data?
  • How are the results integrated back into theory and previous studies, even recognizing the manuscript’s limitations?
  • What is your overall assessment of the study in terms of further consideration for potential publication in Child Development?

While we expect reviewers to be highly critical in their assessment, we strive to provide authors with useful, constructive feedback, and will not accept offensive or insulting comments. We expect both our editors and reviewers to not only serve as gatekeepers for our journal but to also provide a constructive and positive experience for the authors (many of whom are international or early career researchers), even if a paper is ultimately rejected. To this end we reserve the right to lightly edit any such offensive language while seeking to preserve the reviewer’s assessment.

Though we try to identify manuscripts whose writing and style interfere seriously with clarity, given the international scope of the journal some submissions will not be in the best possible English and/or may not perfectly adhere to APA style at first submission. If the work is accepted for publication, the author(s) will be required to improve the expression and format to an acceptable level.

Please DO NOT:

  • Make publication recommendations in your review (Comments to the Author). Only make any such recommendations in the Comments to the Editor area.
  • Sign your review or include identifying information, as we use a double-blind review procedure.
  • Insult the authors when critiquing their work. Obviously offensive comments such as “Why are these authors even in this field?” have been received before, and will not be tolerated.

Again, our office reserves the right to lightly edit reviews to comply with the above points.

  • Acceptance Rate: Child Development has an acceptance rate of approximately 20%. We encourage you to bring a critical eye to every submission and ask yourself: “Is this something that meets the high standards of Child Development?”
  • Due Dates: It is important to us to provide feedback to our authors as quickly as possible, so we ask that reviews be submitted within three weeks of assignment. Limited deadline extensions can be requested in certain circumstances.
  • Length: We trust reviewers to use their judgment in terms of the length of reviews. A typical review is anywhere from a few paragraphs to 2-3 pages in length. Most reviewers give an overview of the paper, along with a more detailed analysis of certain issues, followed by a summary of their impressions and what might be done to improve the paper.
  • Student Reviewers: We require all reviewers to hold doctoral credentials. However, we welcome and encourage student reviews conducted under the supervision of an established researcher. If you would like a graduate student to assist with your review, or if you are a student and would like to review with a mentor, please send a request to our office ( We ask for careful supervision of these student reviewers in order to assure quality work.

Below you will find more thorough descriptions of what we look for in various submission categories. Thank you very much for sharing your expertise with Child Development. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at

Article Types

Empirical Articles
To be accepted, empirical articles must be judged as being high in scientific quality, contributing to the empirical base of child development, and having important theoretical, practical, or interdisciplinary implications. Reports of multiple studies, methods, or settings are encouraged, but single-study reports are also considered. Empirical articles will thus vary considerably in length, but should be no longer than 40 manuscript pages; text and graphics should be as concise as material permits. All modes of empirical research are welcome.

Empirical Reports
These submissions are reserved for short cutting-edge empirical papers that are no longer than 4000 words in length (including text, tables, figures, appendices). These reports should advance research and knowledge in an area through noteworthy findings and/or new methods. We look specifically for new and exciting material with these reports.

A Literature Review for CD should be executed at a very high level. It should synthesize and integrate research in ways that our readers have not previously considered. It should evaluate existing research and extract the useful nuggets to make a "story" of the topic. It should also make recommendations for the direction of future research and why it is needed.

Special Sections
Special Sections consist of a number of papers written on a focal topic by different authors, published collectively. In some cases, calls for submissions on particular topics will be disseminated through SRCD (via e-mail or SRCD publications), and submissions will undergo normal editorial review. In some cases, a submitted manuscript (e.g., an empirical article) may be selected as a lead article for this format, with invited commentaries providing additional perspectives. The editors also welcome suggestions from readers for topics for this format.